Sunday, September 4, 2016

Python swag: Removing duplicate elements from a python list (the unconventional way)

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We know that the reason for python to be so popular is that it is very easy to use and a lot complex algorithms can be implemented very easily. Today I am writing this post to share a simple way to do something that is slightly tedious in nature.

A ‘list’ is a beautiful data type that is widely used to store a set of data. It is a significant improvement from the concept of arrays. Arrays were static, homogeneous, and pathetic. Lists are dynamic, heterogeneous and so ‘not arrays’. In modern day programming, lists are so much more preferred because we deal with so much real-time data.

With this, one of the challenges that we face is redundancy of data in the list. Or in simple words, duplicate elements or repeated elements. It’s not a very complicated problem but it is a thing to consider. There are many ways to remove duplicate elements form a list. But most of them involve iterating through the entire list to compare each element with each other. Today I am going to show you a unique approach to removing duplicate elements.


But before that you need to make sure that you know a few terms in python. So here it is:

  1. Python set: A list like data type that can store heterogeneous data. Only difference is that it only stores unique elements. No two elements can be the same.
  2. Type casting: changing the data type of a variable.

Now let’s look into how to do it:

  1. Type cast the existing list into a set
  2. Type cast it back to a list
  3. Enjoy non-redundant data

I am sure that doesn’t require any explanation. Still, if you don’t understand, what I am trying to do is to convert a python list to a python set, so that the duplicate elements are automatically removed. And then, we just convert it back to a list so that we can use it normally with the list functionalities. So, basically the removal of duplicate data is handled by the type casting. So we won’t have to worry about any kind of iterations.

I am not sure if this method very common used or not. But I realized this only very recently. I hope you liked the post and found it helpful. I will try to come up with more such python swag posts. So stay tuned.

Don’t forget to share the post. Thank you!


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